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education

Karen Hitchcock: Passages

May 9, 2013

Each year at this time, thousands and thousands of young people across our country are readying themselves for one of life’s major passages:  graduation from college.  Two-year or four-year, public or private, our nation’s institutions of higher education have, once again, provided a learning experience which has profoundly changed the outlook of and prospects for our nation’s students.  These graduates leave their alma maters more confident, more poised and more knowledgeable. They appear ready to undertake new challenges and new opportunities, to advance their education or to join the world of work.  Most have the maturity necessary to move forward with clarity of purpose and, hopefully, the self-awareness required for personal growth and advancement. They appear, by and large, to be ready to fulfill their own unique potential.

Ben Nelson, former CEO of Snapfish, an online photo service, is determined to stand higher education – at least part of it - on its head.  His goal is a simple one: provide large numbers of intellectually-gifted students with an education which will challenge them and prepare them to be the “thought leaders” of tomorrow.  The approach Mr. Nelson has laid out to do this “breaks the rules” in many ways, and has been variously described as daring and innovative by some, and ineffective, reckless  and over-reaching by others.

Paul Elisha: A Poem for Today's Collegiate Captives

Apr 16, 2013

Lately, this commentator has become acutely aware of a new, completely technologized collegiate generation. So on this Post-Spring-Break day, with the computerized I-Pod.

This week, in classrooms across the state, hundreds of thousands of elementary and middle school students are taking standardized tests – the first tests given by the State Education Department based on the new Common Core learning standards.

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Albany, New York is making national headlines again - for all the wrong reasons.

Herbert London: Basic Competencies and The MOOC Surge

Apr 10, 2013

It is difficult to know if MOOC’s (Massive Open On-line Courses) are a conspiracy to undermine the Academy or mankind’s final redemption, a way to open the avenues of higher education. However one sees it, millions of people are already taking on-line courses. There is a revolution taking place driven by technology and cost controls. Where it will end up is anyone’s guess, but ultimately the success of this innovation will depend on measured competencies.

UAlbany logo
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The University at Albany has embarked on a program to strengthen its connections with the community.

UAlbany President Dr. Robert Jones "public engagement" initiative builds on a similar program that advanced the concept at the University of Minnesota, where Jones served most recently as Senior Vice President and spent a total of 33 years in academic and administrative leadership positions.

Tim Kremer, executive director of New York State School Boards Association
NYSSBA

Education is always one of the main ingredients of the New York State Budget and this year is no exception. The New York State School Boards Association has looked over the spending plan and has found some good work, and a few areas in need of Improvement. Tim Kremer is the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association. He spoke today with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

    In his new book, Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know, but will do so with energy and passion.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today toured an elementary school in one the state’s Gateway Cities, where he also highlighted his plan to make significant investments in public education.

Governor Patrick was led by students through the Silvio Conte Community School in Pittsfield, where he met students, teachers, and administrators.

Governor Patrick addressed the challenges schools in Gateway Cities, like the Silvio Conte Community School face every day, with many students from low-income households and many studying English as a second language.

WAMC

Educators, business leaders, and philanthropists are backing an initiative in Springfield Massachusetts to combat a problem that confounds many urban schools: a  low high school graduation rate.

Tom Check / Flickr

A Western Massachusetts school committee has voted to keep the state’s only operation virtual school open next year.

Recently the Greenfield Public Schools Committee voted to reverse an earlier decision that would have discontinued the operation of the district’s Massachusetts Virtual Academy in the 2013-2014 school year.

Some committee members had felt that ceding control of the Virtual Academy to the state’s new Commonwealth Virtual School program would be too similar to creating a charter school.

Richard Iannuzzi: New Yorkers Speak, but Do Legislators Hear?

Mar 19, 2013

The first signs of Spring are often its sounds—the first chirping robin, the honking of geese travelling North or the crack of the bat at a ballgame on a crisp afternoon. 

   Journalist Ron Berler spent a full year at Brookside Elementary in Norwalk, Connecticut, sitting in on classes, strategy sessions, and even faculty meetings. He was there for the first day of a new school year as the school another chance to improve its failing scores on the annual statewide standardized test known as the CMT.

In his new book, Raising the Curve, Berler introduces us to the students, teachers, and staff who make up the Brookside community. Though their school is classified as failing—like so many others across the country—they never give up on themselves or on one another. In his portrait, Berler captures their concerns, as well as their pride, resilience, and faith.

The search for a superintendent for Pittsfield Public schools has come to an end. Current superintendent of Lee Public Schools Jason McCandless will be taking the position in Pittsfield in the next school year. WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard spoke with McCandless about his new job, the federal and state education budget, and closing the so-called achievement gap in Massachusetts Gateway Cities.

WAMC

Members of the Massachusetts Legislature have begun a series of public hearings on Governor Deval Patrick’s $34.8 billion dollar budget proposal.  A hearing, run by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Ways and Means was held at Greenfield Community College on Tuesday. The focus of the session was on education and local aid. 

   The 22nd Annual New York in Bloom takes place this weekend at The New York State Museum in Albany, New York. The event is a fundraiser benefiting the Museum’s educational programs for children.

Garden club members, professional designers, interior designers and floral enthusiasts from the Capital District and beyond will create unique floral arrangements that complement and interpret the Museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Richard Iannuzzi - Taking New York's Tax Cap to Court

Feb 20, 2013
Middletown NY City School District

The New York State United Teachers Union today filed suit in New York State Supreme Court in Albany to challenge the state's the 2% property tax cap enacted in June 2011.

WAMC's Brian Shields was joined by NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi to talk about the lawsuit.  

wohnai/Creative Commons

Governor Peter Shumlin has unveiled a plan to get more Vermont students into college and to produce more skilled workers.

The proposal would expand the dual enrollment program to allow more high school juniors and seniors to attend college classes, for free. Students would be able to attend up to two classes at the Vermont State Colleges, the University of Vermont, and participating private institutions.

Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Education issues are on the agenda in Albany as state Assembly lawmakers hold another in a series of public hearings on Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposals.

Monday's hearing at the Legislative Office Building in downtown Albany is expected to include testimony from the chancellor of the City University of New York, Matthew Goldstein; state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.; State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, leaders of the teachers union and other officials.

WAMC (Dave Lucas)

Advocates for early childhood education lobbied Monday at the Capitol in support of Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to expand pre-K programs in New York's school districts.

A big push for pre-K funding in Albany as parents, educators and law enforcement officials voiced their support for Governor Andrew Cuomo's 25-million dollar proposed budget allocation for pre-K that would establish full-day programs in high need districts.

WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is campaigning for a big tax hike. Patrick is making the case that more revenue is needed to pay for things people say they want and need.

   Governor Deval Patrick, during a recent swing through western Massachusetts, pressed the case for raising  taxes to invest in education and transportation infrastructure.  Patrick met with students and faculty in a machinists training program at Springfield Technical Community College. The program prepares people to work in the precision manufacturing sector.

WAMC/Dave Lucas

A broad coalition of parents, educators and business leaders – representing all 47 public school districts from seven Capital Region counties – gathered last night in East Greenbush for an unprecedented advocacy rally titled "Your Public Schools in Fiscal Peril - Running Out of Time and Options.” 

According to new data, 4-year high school graduation rates in Massachusetts are on the increase, while the dropout rate is on the decline.

State officials recently announced that the 4-year graduation rate has improved in the Bay State for the sixth year in a row. JC Considine, a spokesman for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, said that the statewide dropout rate also decreased to 2.5% in the last school year.

Pat Arnow

Education and Medicaid comprise 50-percent of the state budget.  Governor Cuomo’s proposed education budget will continue several of the funding programs that were enacted in the last budget appropriation.

NYS School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy Kremer says he is favorably impressed with the Governor’s plan.

Dartmouth College campus
Photo by Kane5187/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Dartmouth College will stop awarding credit based on Advanced Placement exam scores starting with the class of 2018.

The Ivy League school in Hanover, N.H., currently awards some credit for AP and other test scores. But faculty recently voted to end the practice because they believe AP courses are not equivalent to Dartmouth classes. Though some students have used the credit to graduate early, officials say future students will still have other ways to do that.

Boston Globe Web Staff

Out of many of the proposals Governor Patrick made in this State of the State address, an increase in transportation & infrastructure spending in particular struck a chord in the Berkshires.

The Governor’s specific mention of connecting Pittsfield to New York with commuter rail service was of particular interest to Pittsfield state representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier….

Jared Benedict

The Vermont School Boards, and the Vermont Superintendents, Associations have released a five point agenda that they say will create a world-class education system in the state.

The agenda for a World Class Education system includes universal access to pre-K education, creation of Innovation Zones, personal learning plans, revision of the collective bargaining system and greater family involvement in education.  Vermont Superintendents Association Executive Director Jeff Francis says the state has a good public education system, but in a global economy it must be better.  Francis explains that the associations began crafting the five-point plan last fall.

A new law signed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will require all school employees in the Commonwealth to undergo both a state and federal background check. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

The law signed by Gov. Patrick titled An Act Relative to Background Checks would require teachers and other school employees to submit to a national fingerprint supported background review. Prior to the passage of the bill, school employees in the Commonwealth had only needed to submit to a background check on the state level.

Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves A Second Chance at Education is the first book to look at the schools that serve a growing population of “second-chancers,” exploring what higher education—in the fullest sense of the term—can offer our rapidly changing society.

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